Marathon of Hope runner Terry Fox is shown in a 1981 file photo. The Terry Fox Research Institute has launched a new national network to bring together leading cancer hospitals and research universities across Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/CP

‘He would be so proud’: 40 years on, the legacy of Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope lives on

Terry Fox started his run across Canada to raise money for cancer research on April 12, 1980

Early Sunday morning, Fred Fox, his daughter Kirsten, sister Judi and niece Jesse gathered at Terry Fox Secondary School in Port Coquitlam to mark a very special anniversary.

April 12, 2020, is the 40th year anniversary of the day when Terry Fox began his Marathon of Hope when he was just 21 years old. Fox, who grew up in B.C., was diagnosed with cancer at just 19 years old and had his right leg amputated.

Usually, Fred, Terry’s older brother, and others close to Terry, gather in Newfoundland where the Marathon of Hope began. This year, with COVID-19 restricting travel, the family gathered in Port Coquitlam just after 4 a.m.

“We do it in the morning because that’s when Terry would start every day,” Fred told Black Press Media by phone. “Get up at 4 a.m., be on the highway at 4:30 a.m. It was his favourite time of day to be running because he was alone in his thoughts.”

Fred said April 12 is always a day of reflection for him but is ultimately a happy day as the family remembers the Terry’s determined fight to make sure others fighting cancer would have hope for treatment and a cure.

“We’re celebrating. It’s a positive day.”

Although Terry Fox was forced to stop in Ontario, and didn’t make it to his ultimate goal of B.C., his dream lives on. Every year, millions of people take part in Terry Fox runs in their own communities in September.

“He could never have imagined that 40 years later here’s where his legacy and dream would be today. Terry would be so proud,” Fred said.

“He’s given people hope… there’s lots of help out there.”

A campaign to get Terry Fox on the new $5 is ongoing. The nomination period has ended but you can see the Bank of Canada’s process here: https://www.bankofcanada.ca/banknotes/banknoteable-5.

READ MORE: ‘If anybody could do it, he could,’ Terry Fox’s nurse to speak at B.C. run

READ MORE: #FoxForFiver: Support grows in B.C. to put Terry Fox on new $5 bill


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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